The stage is set for a gay marriage debate at the StatehouseJanuary 9th, 2014 at 4:28 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
The first public hearing on the marriage amendment will take place at the Statehouse Monday.
That hearing will now be on two bills, the marriage amendment that could lead to a permanent ban on gay marriage, and a second bill that is meant to preserve domestic partner benefits for people who already have them.
Republican Eric Turner is author of both the marriage amendment and the companion bill. But it was House Speaker Brian Bosma who fielded questions.
Here’s a big one: is the companion bill meant to make the ban on gay marriage more politically palatable?
“I’m concerned about doing what’s right,” said Bosma, “and I’m not dwelling on the political consequences.”
Senate GOP Leader David Long, on the other hand, made it clear that politics is a part of this.
“That clarifying statement through the law if it passes obviously,” said Long in reference to the companion bill, “I think, would take some of the sting out of passing (the marriage amendment.)”
And it will take some of the pressure off House Judiciary Committee members who are already targeted in TV ads purchased by Advance America, supporters of the marriage amendment.
Democratic leaders spoke out against both plans to debate the amendment and the companion legislation.
“They’ve got some sort of a monster they created,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, “and now they’re trying to dress up or make the monster a little bit prettier.”
“We are muddying the water even further,” said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, “and I think this here (the companion bill) is the best evidence that we need to set this issue aside.”
Too late. The hottest issue of the session will be front and center even before the governor delivers the State of the State.
And the marriage amendment is no longer known as HJR 6 as it was in 2011. It is now HJR 3.
The Speaker says that’s a function of when it was filed.
It’s a setback for opponents who have spent big money on a campaign urging people to “Stop HJR 6.”